Food, glorious food
There is a tendency to see food and want to eat it in Sorrento, Italy. However, I’m being serious when I say you really do want to try the seafood. The squid and octopus are definitely to be recommended.
On our first evening in Sorrento I tried the Crab Linguine, made with angel hair pasta, at Ristorante Pizzeria Le Grazie. Now…I make a mean tuna, chilli pasta back home but this was possibly the most delicious pasta dish I’ve ever tasted. I was so caught up in the moment, savouring the dish that I didn’t even stop to take a photograph. This family owned restaurant was inviting, the service was efficient but not overbearing and we really enjoyed our very first meal in Sorrento. Le Grazie does have gluten free pasta options and gets great reviews on Trip Adviser I found out later.
The three restaurants pictured above are Ristorante Pizzeria LeGrazie, Osteria del Buonconvento and Ristorante Parrucchiano Favorita and I would recommend them all. They have all won awards and have a significant number of positive reviews on Trip Adviser including four star ratings. I would have to say they are not off the beaten track though. They are located in the heart of Sorrento.
Having a meal with new friends
The theme of my blog is to travel to connect and reflect. In Sorrento, I felt a sense of connection to the scenery and unique landscapes as the beauty is awe inspiring. I also enjoyed tasting the local food and drink and the conversations with others during my time there.
A few days into our stay, I recall saying to Nigel that no one had asked us where we were from, including hotel and restaurant staff. They provided friendly service, they just didn’t engage. I felt we were quite alone, as a couple on the trip and remember thinking, I’m really glad Nigel is here with me to share the experience.
However, the very next day I was fortunate to strike up a conversation with a couple visiting from the UK. We met on our boat cruise to and from the Isle of Capri (they are pictured with us above). In the evening, we all had dinner together at one of their favourite restaurants in the area, Osteria del Buonconvento. I tried the octopus dish and Nigel enjoyed a steak cooked Italian style with lots of gravy. He said it was the most delicious steak he’d ever tasted. This couple, both high school teachers, were visiting Sorrento for the second time. We enjoyed hearing about where they had been, what drew them back to the area and where they were staying. We felt our vacation was enriched by dinner with new friends. We did exchange details in case we are visiting the UK in the future and have an opportunity to re-connect. Back home my research led me to an app called ‘Eat With A Local’, where travellers can connect with locals for a meal. I really like this idea and will certainly be trying this on future travels as I believe it could really contribute to a more authentic experience outside of the tourist bubble.
Ristorante Parrucchiano Favorita was recommended to us by a friend’s Italian mother-in-law who is a local. We were keen to try some seafood and this restaurant was also amazing in terms of ambiance as it’s located in a secret, enchanted garden setting with fairy lights, lemon trees as well as a lot of beautiful lush green plants and pathways set back from the main street. It’s very romantic so would suit couples touring together and honeymooners. I asked the waiter which authentic dish he recommended and he said the seafood risotto (pictured above). Nigel asked which non-seafood dish he recommended and he said the cannelloni (also pictured above). We found asking the waiters for their recommendations was a good way to try the local or restaurant specialty dish without doing a lot of background research ourselves. The dishes, setting, service and atmosphere were all wonderful and this was a place we would not have discovered on our own.
The Italians have a talent for taking simple, fresh ingredients and putting them together in such a manner as to create a taste sensation such as fresh basil, mozzarella and tomato. This dish also represents the colours of the Italian flag perfectly too. Bruschetta is an antipasto dish we enjoy back home so tried this in Italy as well. There is so much delicious food on offer in Sorrento Italy that it’s difficult to go wrong. We relished the opportunity to taste authentic Italian pizza and pasta as well as various other regional speciality dishes. Since returning home I have purchased a huge cookbook and food bible titled ‘Italy – The Country and It’s Cuisine,’ – by Ingeborg Pils, Johannes B Bucej. and Stefan Pallmer (Published by Parragon in 2011) – to inspire me to continue to try new Italian dishes moving forwards.
Coffee, cake and craft
We also spent some time eating cake in an intimate tea and crafts shop located in one of the laneways in the centre of Sorrento. We were lured in by all the mouth watering cakes featured in the display cabinet. The Italian lady who owned the café and lives locally took some time to chat with us and commended us on visiting in April as she said the area is so busy during the summer months that tourists are packed in like sardines when wandering the narrow laneways in Sorrento.
Be sure to try some local drinks
There are some regional drinks to try in Sorrento, Italy such as Limoncello, Aperol Spritz, Amaretto and of course a classic, beautifully presented Martini. There is also a refreshing, fizzy non-alcoholic drink called Lemon Soda widely available which is still in keeping with the lemon theme of the area. We enjoyed stopping off for a quick drink in between sightseeing. Sorrento is the birthplace of Limoncello and many restaurants offer you a complimentary Limoncello at the end of your meal which was a welcome surprise. We also tried various Italian red and white wines on our trip too.